Friday, May 8, 2009

The Moon Watch - Omega Speedmaster restoration

On March 1st, 1965, OMEGA's Speedmaster chronograph was "flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions" as the only wristwatch to have withstood all of the U.S. space agency's severe tests under conditions of zero gravity and magnetic fields, extreme shocks, vibrations and temperatures ranging from -18 to +93 degrees Celsius. In the same month, the watch was for the first time worn officially on board the Gemini 3 mission.

In April 1970, the OMEGA Speedmaster rescued the Apollo 13 mission from a potential disaster, earning OMEGA the "Snoopy Award", the highest distinction awarded by the NASA astronauts. In another historical event, the Speedmaster was worn on the wrists of both the American astronaut Tom Stafford and the Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov during the historic Apollo-Soyuz space rendezvous. This was also the first time the cosmonauts wore the OMEGA Speedmaster. Ever since, the Speedmaster has been the official chronograph of all Russian manned space missions.

The greatest moment in the Speedmaster's history was undoubtedly July 21st, 1969 at 02:56 GMT, when it recorded man's first steps on the Moon's surface. The Apollo 11 mission was a milestone in history and the Speedmaster became the first watch (and the only watch since) to be worn on the Moon. With this unique accomplishment came a unique nickname: the Moon Watch.

This particular example came in a rather sad condition. Neglected by its owner, it was long time overdue for a decent overhaul. But it is a story with a happy ending.

Total restoration time: 7 hours.

Photos of complete overhaul, case and movement restoration.

Happy collecting!


Speedmaster said...

GREAT post, thanks!! ;-)

Aviator said...


I've just discovered your blog today and have enjoyed reading it.

Since you've gone to the trouble of mentioning the time that Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon, I thought you might be interested to know that at the time, he was not in fact wearing his Speedmaster. Armstrong's watch was left behind in the lunar module, which meant that Aldrin (who was wearing his watch) has the honour of being the first person to wear a watch on the moon.

Furthermore, there is some evidence that Apollo astronauts in many cases took their personal watches (usually GMT Masters) to the moon, as well as the issued Omegas.

Great blog, and I look forward to reading more.